What is OxyContin Abuse and What Makes it Dangerous?

by Maxwell Keith

Although OxyContin was manufactured as a time-release pill designed to relieve pain for up to 12 hours, when the drug is crushed and injected, snorted, chewed, smoked, or dissolved into a liquid, the time-release function is destroyed. Abusers feel a heroin-like rush from eating, drinking, snorting, or injecting the powdered, or pulverized, a form of OxyContin.

The pleasurable feeling created by the abuse of OxyContin is leading even those who truly need a prescription to abuse the drug for the euphoria and the complete alleviation of all pain. Since the pharmaceutical drug can be so easily abused, users often quickly progress from legitimate use to abuse and then onto addiction. Individuals who have not been educated on the dangers and side effects of OxyContin may not understand the drug’s powerful narcotic impact on the human body.

All too often, a person who has been prescribed OxyContin believes that the drug is safe because a doctor has deemed it medically appropriate. Sadly, the true effects of OxyContin abuse are widely unknown to most of the people who are taking the pharmaceutical. Consequently, OxyContin’s side effects become the reason for thousands of emergency room visits and causes of death every year.

As one of the most powerful pain relievers on the market, OxyContin became a substitute for heroin. Instead of injecting a risky street drug, individuals started going to a doctor, complaining of chronic pain, in an effort to get what is essentially the pill form of heroin. The pharmaceutical versions seem less dangerous than heroin, are perceived with less cultural stigma than “street drugs,” and come in a pretty little pill instead of via a needle, but make no mistake: prescription opiate narcotics are no less dangerous than any other version, like heroin, codeine, and morphine.

When the first high is experienced from OxyContin, abuse goes beyond just pain relief. The desire for an amount of the drug that creates that euphoric high is continuously pursued. For those users, who are not educated on the dangers of opiates, OxyContin use can unintentionally spiral out of control.

The body begins to change, and chemicals in the brain begin to adapt to the continuous, and often to rise, presence of OxyContin. The appropriate pain relief that used to come from one or two pills now requires five or six pills. As the abuse continues to progress, it is not unusual for an individual to then need a dozen pills of OxyContin to feel the effect that used to come with just a couple. Physical tolerance to the drug has developed, and the systems of the body and the brain now require more pills to ward off pain or to get high.

When the body can no longer handle the dose that is being taken, meaning that the amount of the drug in the person’s system can no longer be metabolized, the drug becomes lethal. This is an overdose. The body does not distinguish between OxyContin, another pharmaceutical, and heroin when dosages become so high that breathing stops and other organs shut down, including the heart. OxyContin overdoses are just like heroin overdoses. The body cannot handle the level of narcotics present.

The good news is that complete recovery from any opiate is possible. With help from trained professionals, OxyContin abuse can stop before an overdose or the progression to addiction ends a life.

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